"Going Dutch" is a term that indicates that each person participating in a group activity pays for himself or herself, rather than any one person paying for anyone else, particularly in a restaurant bill. It is also called Dutch date and Dutch Treat.
There are two possible senses—each person paying his own expenses, or the entire bill being split (divided evenly) between all participants. In strict usage, "Going Dutch" refers to the former, paying one's own expenses, with the latter being referred to as "splitting the bill", but in casual usage these may both be referred to as "Going Dutch". Splitting the bill is generally easier to compute, as it does not require checking what each individual ordered, but has the downside that people who ordered more expensive items are subsidized by others.
The phrase "going Dutch" originates from the concept of a Dutch door. Previously on farmhouses this consisted of two equal parts (Sullivan. 2010). Another school of thought is that it may be related to Dutch etiquette. In the Netherlands, it was not unusual to pay separately when going out as a group. When dating in a one-on-one situation, however, the man will most commonly pay for meals and drinks. English rivalry with the Netherlands especially during the period of the Anglo-Dutch Wars gave rise to several phrases including Dutch that promote certain negative stereotypes. Examples include Dutch oven, Dutch courage, Dutch uncle and Dutch wife.
The gambling term dutching may follow this same route as it describes a system that shares stakes across a number of bets. It is commonly believed, however, that the Dutch reference here was in fact derived from a gangster (Dutch Schultz) who used this strategy to profit from racing.
As date practice
In United States, during the advent of second wave feminism, the late 1960s and 1970s, the women's movement encouraged women to understand aspects of their own personal lives as deeply politicized. Many feminists investigated the framework and assumptions of traditional courtship roles. They subscribed to the idea that there should be equality of the sexes, not just legally, but socially and sexually.
They held that it was mature, empowering and self-respecting for women to pay their own way in romantic dates. They were rejecting traditional gender role assumptions that men should make more money and should pay for affections through dinners and other date costs. In this way, women were making an equal investment in the cost of courtship.
It became more common for women to pay their own way or to pay for men's meals. It is, however, still widely accepted that on a date, the man should be the one taking the initiative when it comes to paying the bill, which means that he is the one to pay, unless the woman signals that she will cover the tab, after which it becomes impolite for the man to insist on paying; it shows respect for the woman's desire to be treated equally to let her pay the bill.
In Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Canada, Norway and Australia, the practice of splitting the bill in restaurants is common. In a courtship situation where both parts have a similar financial standing, which is commonplace in the aforementioned nations, the traditional custom of the man always paying in restaurants has largely fallen out of use and is by many, including etiquette authorities, considered old fashioned. Generally a romantic couple will take turns paying the bill or split it. It is generally assumed that everyone pays for himself or herself in restaurants unless the invitation stated otherwise.
In most of northern Europe, central Europe and Australia the practice of splitting the bill is common. On a dinner date, the man may pay the bill as a way of overtly stating that he views this as a romantic situation and that he has some hopes or expectations for a future development. Some women object to this or even find it offensive (per Feminist support for Dutch date practice above) so it is a judgment call. Younger urban women especially tend not to accept men paying for them; or will in turn insist to pay for the next dinner or drink.
In south European Countries such as Italy, Portugal, Greece it is rather uncommon for locals to have separate bills, sometimes even regarded rude, especially when in larger groups. But in urban areas or places frequented by tourists this has changed over the last decades. In Greece the practice is sometimes called "refenes".
In Middle Eastern cultures, going Dutch is judged to be extremely rude. Traditions of hospitality play a great part in who pays, therefore an invitation will be given only when the host feels he/she is able to afford the expenses of all. Similarly, gender roles and age play a more important role than they would in Western societies.
In India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran it is even considered taboo to ask people to pay their own bills. The bills are paid by the one who is elder, or by the male or by the local to that area or by the one who invited if there is no significant age gap. Invitations are only given if someone understands that they can pay for all of the guests.
In Korea where rigid social systems are still in place, it is most common for the person of the highest social standing, such as a boss or an elder figure, to pay the bill. This not only applies in a 1 to 1 situation but also in groups. Among the younger generation, it is quite common for friends to alternate when paying the bill, or for one to pay for dinner and another to pay for drinks.
In Colombia, this practice is referred to as "estilo Americano" ("American style" in Spanish), particularly when referring to dates involving men and women.
In some parts of Italy (especially the south), the expression pagare alla romana can be translated as: "To pay like people of Rome" or "to pay like they do in Rome". It has the same meaning as "going Dutch". This can lead to misunderstanding, because in other parts of Italy pagare alla romana means to divide equally the total cost between all the commensals.
The corresponding phrase in Turkish is hesabı Alman usulü ödemek, which can be translated into English as "to pay the bill the German way". Alman usûlü = German style
Some South American countries use the Spanish phrase pagar a la americana (literally "to pay American style") which refers to a trait attributed to people from the United States or Canada.
In France, it is close to "faire moitié-moitié" or "faire moite-moite", which means "each one pays half of the bill". But this usually does not include women, who according to the "étiquette" should not pay when there are also men at the lunch/dinner. In a business meeting, the receiving party usually pays for all - it is considered poor not to do so.
In Egypt, it is called Englizy, which translates into "English style".
In Argentina specifically, 'a la romana' (exact translation of Italian's 'pagare alla romana') is widely used and 'pagar a la americana' (pay American style) doesn't exist.
In Panama the phrase mita y mita (a colloquial contraction of mitad y mitad in this case with the stress on the first syllable mi) literally "half and half" refers to both "going Dutch" and to splitting the check equally.
In Guatemala the phrase is "a la ley de Cristo... cada quien con su pisto" which is used more as a rhyme with the word "Cristo" and "pisto" rather than having a religious connotation.
Almost the same in Honduras where the phrase is "Como dijo Cristo... cada quien con su pisto".
In El Salvador the rhyming phrase 'Ley de Esparta... Cada quien paga lo que se harta', which means 'Spartan Law, each pays what he/she eats'.
In India, in Hindi, the practice is called as TTMM - Tu Tera Mein Mera Hindi (or Tujhe Tu Majhe Mi in Marathi) meaning 'You pay yours and I pay mine'. Generally though, since the concept of dating is very new this act is not applied to dating. When the expression going Dutch is used, it often refers to splitting the bill equally. In Pakistan, similarly, Apna Apna is used to mean 'Each his own'.
In Thailand, the practice is referred to as อเมริกันแชร์ "American Share".
In the Philippines, it is referred to as KKB; an acronym for "Kanya-kanyang bayad" which means "pay for your own self".
In Japan, the phrase 兵隊勘定 (へいたいかんじょう) (heitaikanjou) is used, which can translate loosely as 'soldier's calculation'. The terms 割り勘 （わりかん） (warikan) and ゴーダッチ (goodacchi) also exist.
In Greater China, the appropriate term is "AA制 (AA dzɐi)，" where zhì is the Chinese word for "system". Explanations vary: "AA" could stand for "Algebraic Average" or "Acting Appointment" or "About to Act".
- Gender roles
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